Seminar I - Heeseung Choi
Opening Our “Waist Pouches”
Eugene Hannah Park (DCW 2021)
At the first seminar of the 2021 DOOSAN Curator Workshop, we talked to DOOSAN Gallery curator Heeseung Choi about the attitude with which one carries out an exhibition as well as the elements that compose it. Starting with fundamental questions about what an exhibition should be, she discussed curatorial methodologies and approaches to the circumstances and environments that surround exhibitions.
Choi has curated exhibitions under diverse conditions and of various scale, including Young Korean Artists 2019 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) and Glow Breath Warmth (2020) at WESS. During the workshop, she discussed the different aspects of curating an exhibition, from concept design to archiving, through the example of Young Korean Artists 2019, which required her to work with people with varying positions and stances. At the same time, she shared questions about the situationally responsive attitude and language of a curator, prompting workshop participants to share their own curatorial methodologies.
Choi’s perspective on exhibitions as both a mode of self-expression and a form of social property created through the collaboration of diverse agents allowed participants to recognize that every stage of an exhibition—from foundational research on concepts to transportation, installation, promotion, and publication—belongs to the category of curatorial work. Participants were also able to realize that every stage is part of a process of acquiring validity that aims to grant an exhibition a network of meaning. Borrowing Choi’s comparison of the conceptualization of an exhibition to “waist pouches,” we were able to rethink the curator’s role and perspective, sharing the concepts that seem to exist only in the metaphorical pouches we always carry with us but are also actually part of a complex relationship in which different actors participate and speak in a public sphere.